What is gluten? Well, being on a gluten free diet, I’ve had to face this exact question many times. Gluten is the glue that makes bread, pastries, pasta, dough, etc. stick together. Technically it’s the protein found in wheat, rye and barley.
Why does gluten affect some and not others? I can’t necessarily answer that question, but what I have realized and noticed is that gluten really does affect everyone it’s just that we’ve been eating it for our entire lives that we don’t recognize the symptoms. After eating a big bowl of pasta, how do you feel? Have you ever stopped to pay attention? Well, my guess is that you will not only feel quite full, but you might be a bit bloated, feeling tired and maybe even light headed.
That’s the gluten working its way throughout your digestive system. You might feel tired because your body is using a whole lot of energy to digest this sticky protein.
My advice to you is to start paying attention to all the signs and messages that your body sends you throughout the day. Don’t throw them to the side because you really want that bowl of pasta. You can still have the pasta but why not try brown rice pasta? It’s easier on the digestive tract and you most likely won’t have the same feeling as you normally do – and, to top it off… it tastes the same!
Here are some of my favorite and must have gluten free items in my pantry/fridge:
Tamari – gluten free soy sauce
Organicville gluten free salad dressing
Brown rice crackers
Bob’s Red Mill gluten free oatmeal
Brown rice pasta
Mary’s Gone Crackers and the cookies too!
Udi’s gluten free granola
Canyon Bakehouse hamburger buns – found at Whole Foods (those are in my freezer.)
Food For Life bread – for toast! (Found at your natural foods store. I keep mine in the fridge.)
Quinoa – A wonderful wholegrain filled with loads of protein!
LaraBars - Great snack to bring on the road.
Raw nuts of all kind
As for the typical gluten free cookies and baked goods that you find at the store – check the ingredient list and nutrition label as I can almost guarantee that it’s loaded with a lot of sugar – and it may even contain ingredients that you can’t pronounce. My advice is: #1 read all labels and #2 check the sugar contents on everything you eat/drink. Also check the serving size! If a bottle of iced tea says it has 9 grams of sugar but it has 2 servings, you better believe that small bottle has a total of 18 grams of sugar!! That’s way too much sugar for one drink because let’s be honest, you’re definitely going to drink the whole bottle.
Be aware of what goes into your body. Just because something is gluten free does NOT mean it’s healthier for you. Be a smart shopper and read the labels – I can’t say that enough times. There are definitely healthy gluten free products out there, but you have to search for them. Find what you like and report back to me so I can try them too! I’m always looking for new products to try.
I’m a firm believer in the gluten free diet, but it has to be done in a healthy way.
Good luck to you.